Thursday, June 02, 2016

Falls Church Hosts the Blues June 10-12

The Annual Tinner Hill Blues Festival returns to the City of Falls, Church Virginia starting on Friday June 10 and running through June 12. Presented by The Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation, the weekend has programs for hard core blues lovers as well as families and folks looking for a terrific time.

The Festivities include a juried Art Show, "The Blues In Paris," at Art and Frame of Falls Church at 205 W. Jefferson St. From 5 to 8 PM, there is a free kickoff reception at Applebee's located at 127 E Broad St. Appearing at theh erecption will be one of the DC area's favorite blues artists, Memphis Gold.  At 8:00PM there is the fabulous ticketed show, Blues & Soul Divas with Mable John, Trudy Lynn, and Gaye Adegbalola with the Wild Rūtz at the State Theatre (Doors open at 7:00PM). I have already previewed this show, Several Falls Church clubs are also presenting blues that evening.

Saturday, June 11 opens with some free blues music being presented at the weekly Falls Church Farmer's Market. Also taking place on Saturday Morning will be a workshop "History of Women in Blues" that will be presented by Gaye Adegbalola at 10:30 AM in the Falls Church Community Center. 11:30AM at the Mary Stiles Library there will be a participatory book reading and sing along with "Emily Sings"and at 11:30AM there will be a Mini-Film Festival at the Community Center including “John Jackson: a Blues Treasure”, Award winning documentary on the life and music of John Jackson, and "E. B. Henderson" by film maker Bob Burnett, a ten minute film on how Dr. E.B. Henderson was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Cherry Hill Park itself hosts a day of Blues, Brew & BBQ. Gates open at noon and the program starts at 1:00PM with the opening performers being the Mike Terpak Blues Explosion. Their website describes itself, "Based out of Washington, DC, the band explodes with virtuoso guitar work by Bill Kotapish, hard driving rhythm by drummer Brian Alpert and bassist Jerry Stewart, and dynamic organ and vocals by Mike Terpak. All are veterans of popular local, regional and national bands, like Jimmy Thackery and the Assassins, Tom Principato Band, Bob Margolin, However, and The Hitmen." Here is a sample of their music.

Next Musical act with be Carly Harvey and Kiss & Ride. Carly Havey is a terrific jazz-infused, blues and soul vocalist.  Her band Kiss & Ride is is a high energy blues ensemble lead by Carly Harvey. They strive to extend blues to younger audiences to bridge the age gap between blues aficionados.It performs a combination of originals, blues standards, and cool bluesy arrangements of current popular music.

Charlie Sayles & the Blues Disciples featuring Tony Fazio follows with a set spotlighting the distinctive blues harmonica and vocals of Charlie Sayles. Since being discovered playing on the streets of Manhattan decades ago, Sayles has taken his blues from off teh street into clubs and festivals around the world, and his current Blues Disciples include guitarist Tony Fazio, providing simple, solid support for Sayles very personal songs and Mississippi saxophone explorations by Sayles.

Once a mid-teen guitar sensation, Andy Poxon has won the praises of the likes of Duke Robillard and Mark Wenner as he has matured and grown as a singer and guitarist. Of his most recent recording, "Must Be Crazy" I observed that his "continual growth and maturity as a guitarist and a singer is established right away. here is someone who has listened to vintage B.B. King, Pee Wee Crayton, Tiny Grimes, T-Bone Walker and the like and brings a lot of heart and personality to his vocals …" He is a terrific performer whose star is definitely on the ascenscion.

About 50 years ago among the first blues albums I purchased were John Lee Hooker's Live at "The Cafe Au Go-Go"and Otis Spann's "The Blues Is Where It's At." The backing band on both was the Muddy Waters Blues band, and the bassist at the time was one Mac Arnold. After spending some in time in Chicago, Arnold moved to the West Coast where he continued his musical career. After retiring from show business to be an organic farmer, Mac is back with his own band and a "plate full" of music, building a new foundation in blues, soul and funk.His band consists Austin Brashier on guitar and vocals, Max Hightower on keyboards, harmonica, guitar, bass, and vocals, Tez Sherard on drums and vocals, and Mac Arnold on vocals, bass and Gas Can Guitars, and have been touring clubs and Festivals with his own brand of music. Writing about his 2010 release Backbones & Gristle I observed "Arnold  has an appealing baritone with a natural  delivery, and he gets solid support … [and the album was] full of intriguing originals (mostly by Arnold), heartfelt singing and songs, and first-rate musicianship."

Closing the musical performances this afternoon is the sensational Victor Wainwright & the WildRoots. Wainwright is a multiple Blues Music Award winner, having been chosen piano player of the year in 2013 and 2014 and more recently the Entertainer of the Year and Blues Band of the Year in 2016. A Savannah, Georgia native, his mix of boogie woogie, country honk and blues piano makes for some rollicking music and with his band he is an exciting live performer in addition to a strong singer.

After the music ends at Cherry Hill Park, there will be a blues crawl at various Falls Church venues. Performes for the Blues Crawl include JC & Lava Lamps at Ireland's 4 Provinces; Tom Yoder at Clare & Don's Beach Shack; Southbound Steele (Rick Steele & Charles Solomon) at Argia's along with mini pop up concerts at surprise locations in the City of Falls Church.

Sunday June 12, there will be an Old Fashioned Blues Gospel Concert & Picnic. Bring a blanket, lawn chair and picnic. There will be Free tea and lemonade. It will feature the NENO Project, plus outstanding church choirs, others tba.It takes place from 2 to 5 PM at the Tinner Hill Historic Site & Park, 108 Tinner Hill St. in Falls Church.

The Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation in part celebrates the civil rights heritage of the first rural NAACP chapter.  For more information on the Festival visit

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